Nearly half of all Americans believe in the existence of extraterrestrials, and many are also convinced that aliens have visited earth at some point in history. Included among such popular beliefs is the notion that so-called ancient astronauts (visitors from outer space) were responsible for historical wonders like the pyramids. Shocking new evidence proves that the entire genre of ancient astronaut books is based upon fictional horror stories, whose author once wrote that he never wished to mislead anyone.
In this entertaining and informative book, Jason Colavito traces the origins of the belief in ancient extraterrestrial visitors to the work of horror writer H. P. Lovecraft (1890–1937). This amazing tale takes the reader through fifty years of pop culture and pseudoscience highlighting such influential figures and developments as Erich von Däniken (Chariots of the Gods), Graham Hancock (Fingerprints of the Gods), Zecharia Sitchin (Twelfth Planet), and the Raelian Revolution. The astounding and improbable connections among these various characters are revealed, along with the disturbing consequences of Lovecraft’s "little joke" for modern science and public knowledge.
Beyond documenting Lovecraft’s influence on ancient astronaut theories and Raelian cloning efforts, Colavito also argues that the appeal of such modern myths is a troubling sign in an age when science is having its greatest success. He suggests that at the dawn of the 21st century Western society is witnessing a deep-seated erosion of Enlightenment values that are the basis of the modern world.